Federal funding programs have the power to boost economic growth, improve individual quality of life, and strengthen community resiliency. As the COVID-19 pandemic showed, federal dollars are especially important in times of crisis, as the federal government has the unique ability to leverage abundant resources. Recent waves of recovery funding were unprecedented in that they were directed not only to states and counties but also cities, Tribal governments, and individuals.
Eligible uses for these funds were more flexible than in the past, which allowed for greater experimentation and learning. An ecosystem of support is needed to ensure that federal funding implementation includes robust community engagement and delivers equitable outcomes. Governments, philanthropists, advocates, academics, membership organizations, direct service providers, community-based organizations, and residents each have an important role to play in the process.
The following case studies tell the story of organizations that took the initiative to educate and organize their communities to advocate for equitable allocation and implementation of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funding (SLFRF). These inspiring stories of action and impact shed light on how people can work together through coordinated strategies to ensure the needs of people most impacted are centered in the implementation of federal funding programs now and moving forward.